There are a few new technologies that have become invaluable to me. I literally cannot imagine life without them. My cell phone is a prime example…
I am infamous for locking my keys in my car, breaking down on the side of the road, getting my eyes dilated without arranging prior transportation, etc. How I ever would have managed to avoid disaster without the lifesaver that is my cell phone is beyond me.
Bluetooth – One of Life’s Basic Necessities
Another such technology is my Bluetooth headset. Like many folks out there, I thought having speaker phone was sufficient, but life after Bluetooth has proven otherwise. First, I live by myself with two unruly, undisciplined, wild dogs. Anyone who has ever walked two dogs simultaneously knows that this a challenging task. Try to do it with anything in your hand, and it’s downright impossible. I am also an avid RV-er. I love travelling, and having my own house on wheels makes it so much easier. But try driving a motor home with a dual sim cell phone in your hand, and you’ll soon find yourself in a ditch.
In addition to the obvious safety issues, RVs are loud. Try talking on the speakerphone while driving and all the other end will hear is engine noise. When I drove cross-country from Virginia to Texas, my Bluetooth was my best friend. Anyone who has made that drive knows that without conversation, you will be so bored that you will want to drive yourself off the road. Add to these the obvious benefits of being able to talk without holding a phone, and my Bluetooth headset has become one of the most invaluable technologies in my life.
Bluetooth – How to Choose
When buying a Bluetooth headset, it’s important to do your research. In most cases, they are packaged away without the option to test it out and there is not a trial period. Well, it’s your lucky day, I’ve done some research for you. Without further ado, here is my list:
The Top 3 Bluetooth Devices on The Market
1. Jawbone Era:
- Rated #1 by PCWorld
- Rated #1 by PC Magazine
- Rated #1 by Cnet.com
- The Good: The Jawbone line of Bluetooth products has set the bar over the years in terms of quality, dependable, user-friendly Bluetooth devices, and the Jawbone Era lives up to the standard. It is the first Bluetooth device to include accelerometer technology. This technology allows the user to perform certain functions like answering a call or pairing devices, by simply shaking or tapping the device. No more fumbling around trying to find a button or rushing to get the device out of your pocket and into your ear before you miss a call. It boasts about 5 hours of talk time during which your calls should be crystal clear due to the noise reduction capabilities and the HD audio. It pairs really well with apps on most mobile devices.
On the iPhone, it can provide audio caller ID and audio directions, seamlessly streams music and pairs with many other apps. Additionally, when paired with the iPhone, it will visually display the remaining battery life of the Era. Since most Bluetooth devices do not show how much time you have left, this can help eliminate the guessing game. If you frequently use your Bluetooth for conference calls or other important business, this will let you know if you have enough battery to make that last call.
- The Bad: The only flaws cited with the Era dealt with design issues. Although the Era comes with eight different ear pieces to ensure a secure, comfortable fit, several reviewers complained that it still was not as comfortable as other models on the market. Additionally, the headset itself does not have a volume adjuster; you have to use the one on the phone. If you frequently walk away from the phone while paired, this could be annoying.
2. Platronics Voyager Pro UC
- Rated #2 by PCWorld
- Rated # 2 by Cnet.com
- The Good: If you frequently switch between VOIP calls (like Skype) and your cell phone, the Voyager Pro might just be your new best friend. The device can pair with multiple devices at once, like a computer and a mobile phone, and can switch between them seamlessly. Additionally, it has an automatic call answer and transfer feature. The device can detect whether or not it is in your ear. If a call comes in when it is not in your ear, it will automatically route the call to your phone. If you put the device on mid-call, it will detect this and route the phone call to your Bluetooth device.
- The Bad: First and foremost, the Voyager is expensive and many reviewers had trouble justifying the purchase price. Additionally, the Voyager is not the most comfortable device on the market. If you have small ears, you may have trouble with the ear buds that come with it; even average-size males found that most of the buds were too big for their ears. The device includes a large, swiveling boom microphone and a large behind-the-ear battery pack, which many found to be uncomfortable and awkward. Others love the design because of its retro feel (think of the cliché telemarketer look). Finally, because the volume button is on top of the device, some people had trouble adjusting the volume while the device was in their ear.
3. Jawbone Icon HD + The Nerd
- Rated #5 by PCWorld
- Rated #4 by PC Magazine
- Rated #5 by Cnet.com
- The Good: If you simply want a high quality, high end Bluetooth device, the Jawbone Era is probably your best option. However, if you also want to connect to a PC via a reliable, crystal clear device, the Jawbone Icon HD + Nerd is your device. The Bluetooth device features noise assassin and voice activity sensor technologies to ensure that your calls, audio, podcasts and A2D2 streams come in crystal clear. It takes about 90 minutes to charge the device and it features about 5 hours of talk time. When not in use, you can check the remaining battery by simply tapping the multifunction button.
It has about 35 feet of range and comes with 7 ear tips to ensure a comfortable fit. What really makes the device, however, is the Nerd. The Nerd is a small USB device that allows you to connect to a computer, regardless of whether the computer is Bluetooth enabled. My Windows’ Bluetooth functionality is unreliable at best, so this would be a great option for me. It works without any additional drivers or software needed. It is truly plug and play, user friendly and convenient.
- The Bad: If you’re prone to losing things, the Nerd might not be your best option. It looks like a mini-USB device and could easily get lost. Additionally, when compared to the Jawbone Era, the A2D2 streaming is not as good. If you really do not need the computer Bluetooth connectivity, the Era is probably a much better option.